September 2, 1925 - June 26, 2012
Russell Shank, 86 of Los Angeles, professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, 1977-88 University Librarian at UCLA, Vice Chancellor for Library and Information Services UCLA, and a renowned leader who made his mark in academic, special, and public librarianship as well as in intellectual freedom and international librarianship, died June 26 of complications from a fall. Shank came to UCLA from the Smithsonian Institution where he served as the first Director of Libraries from 1967-77. His earlier professional years included positions at UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. Past president of the American Library Association from 1978-79, Russell was an active member of the ALA 1961-83. He was on the role of honor with the Freedom to Read Foundation, a member of the American Council on Education and Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a distinguished alumnus at University of Washington School of Librarianship and Columbia University School of Library Service. Those who knew Russell personally can attest to his honesty and compassion, his lust for life, his accomplishments, and his wry sense of humor. His lifelong battle with multiple sclerosis may have slowed him down but never hampered his independent nature. Those who knew him only as the crusty old curmudgeon, bulldozing his way through life on his electric scooter may be surprised that there was more to the man. He shall be profoundly missed by family, friends, and colleagues. Russell is survived by his children Susan (Wayne) of Nokesville, VA, Peter (Pam) of Mosinee, WI, Judith (John) of Morgantown, WV and grandchildren Joanna, Sarah and John. He is also survived by his close friend Liz. He is preceded in death by his ex-wife Doris and sister Carol. Russell served in the Navy during WW II reaching the rank of Lt. Commander.
Russell will be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery. Those wishing to remember Russell in a special way, (in lieu of flowers), may make gifts in his memory to the Freedom to Read Foundation, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on July 8, 2012